Obama, Biden Campaign In Pennsylvania

Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning Friday in Pennsylvania. Obama said John McCain's decision to name Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate was an indicator of how the country was moving forward. Earlier, an Obama spokesman had criticized Palin.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Barack Obama wasted no time returning to the campaign trail today. He began a battleground bus tour in western Pennsylvania with his running mate, Senator Joe Biden. The tour comes the day after Barack Obama accepted the Democratic presidential nomination before a crowd of 80,000 and a television audience estimated at more 38 million.

NPR's Don Gonyea joins us from Monaca, Pennsylvania. Don, that doesn't even include the radio numbers. Sounds pretty good for Barack Obama.

DON GONYEA: Not a bad night at all. And when I put those numbers to the campaign, the spokesperson said, that is amazing. They hadn't heard the number. It's a larger figure than the people who watched the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.

What they say is, you know, it comes at a time when viewership of political events and conventions has been turning downwards and on the decline. So, the notion that such a huge number tuned in, they say, is a reflection of how much people want to hear what Senator Obama has to say. They want to hear his message.

BLOCK: And Don, what has the Obama campaign's reaction been today to John McCain's announcement that Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, is going to be his running mate?

GONYEA: This is interesting. We got two reactions. We got immediate, quick reaction from the press secretary, Bill Burton, who said that Senator McCain has picked a running mate who is the former mayor of a town of 9,000 who has no foreign policy experience. It was also mentioned in the press release that Senator McCain and Governor Palin are committed to overturning Roe versus Wade.

Now, we're (unintelligible) bio-diesel factory here in Monaca not too long after that came out and Senator Obama came over and he had a most tempered reaction. Here's his reaction.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois, Presidential Candidate): The fact that she's been nominated or will soon be nominated I think is one more indicator of this country moving forward. The fact that you've got a woman as the nominee, one of the - vice presidential nominee of one of the major parties, I think, is one more hit against that glass ceiling. And I congratulate her and look forward to a vigorous debate.

GONYEA: We asked about the difference between that gracious response from Senator Obama and the tougher one from his press secretary. And Senator Obama said, well, you know, sometimes the campaign's on a hair trigger and it shouldn't be. He said that his words are reflective of what their feeling is on Senator McCain's choice.

BLOCK: And Don, the bus tour rolls on. How does the Obama campaign expect to compete against the Republican convention that starts next week?

GONYEA: They're not going to take any downtime. They're going to have events every day, probably small events. But they're not going to cede the week to Senator McCain and the Republican convention up in St. Paul.

BLOCK: NPR's Don Gonyea traveling with the Obama campaign in Pennsylvania. Don, thanks so much.

GONYEA: My pleasure.

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